With over 51,000 acres already burning between the Fires at the Windy and the KNP Complex in Sequoia National Park and the Tule River Indian Reservation, officials at the National Weather Service in Hanford await potential thunderstorms and light rainfall this week.
Kevin Durfee, a meteorologist at NWS in Hanford, said the threat of thunderstorms won’t exist until late Thursday and could persist through the weekend.
â€œRight now it’s only a distant possibility. Much will depend on an upper plain fault coming southwest from the northern Rockies, â€Durfee said. “There are computer predictions everywhere of where this will be tracked and the amount of moisture that will be available with it.”
Durfee added that the possibility of thunderstorms remains if it passes over central California, and if there is enough moisture there could be isolated thunderstorms in the mountain areas.
The fires in the sequoias were caused during a similar storm on September 9th.
The expectation of rain is low.
“At this point the chance (rainfall) is no more than 20%,” said Durfee. â€œIt’s something we just have to watch, not just the computer predictions, but the computer models and how they play out. The amount of moisture is the big key to how much moisture will be available. “
Durfee added a low risk of thunderstorms over the Sierra and Kern County’s desert.
Clouds of smoke over Visalia, Tulare
According to the National Weather Service’s air quality model, smoke from the Windy and KNP complex fires could reach parts of the Visalia and Fresno areas in the next two days.
The air quality index hit 112 on Tuesday morning and hit 182 by 8 a.m. – unhealthy for everyone.
In response to deteriorating air conditions, the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District issued an air quality alert through Thursday morning “if a trough is expected to cross the area and aid in spreading”.
The base camp of the KNP Complex was relocated from the Three Rivers site to Woodlake to help the fire fighters who had poor air quality due to the heavy smoke development.
“Firefighters work long, hard hours in very smoky areas during the day,” said an update from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. “[M]If they drive to Woodlake from base camp, they can relax from the smoky conditions during their rest periods. “
Visalia Unified has temporarily canceled sporting events and requires students to stay indoors all day – including breaks and exercising.
The air quality for the people, especially the young and the elderly, was already a challenge in the Central Valley. However, people with respiratory conditions such as asthma should avoid being outdoors. According to the Fresno Air Pollution Control District, particulate matter mixed with smoke can cause mild to severe respiratory illness, including an asthma attack.
Dan Casarez covers the city of Tulare for pre-registration. A Report for America corps member of the GroundTruth Project, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit news organization dedicated to serving the next generation of local journalists in the US and around the world.
Lauren Jennings, Visalia Times-Delta, contributed to this report.